Friday, June 22, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Mercy


Ready for the Mercy

A devotional by Gail Kittleson


“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit...staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!” Jude 1:20-21 (MSG)

At one time, I sought in vain for literature that incorporated Scripture and the Twelve Steps. Now, I see it everywhere and often note twelve-step principles in Scripture itself. This teaching focuses on us—we can change only our own lives, not others’!

What a principle to live by, and Jesus taught it so clearly. How could I not have noticed this in my early faith days? 


Here’s one example: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)

Obviously, this passage has been there all these years, and I may have even memorized it. How is it that it took so long to understand the connection? Ah, well, no use regretting the past—I see it now. But how to keep this focus? Jude gives us a very specific guideline: Build ourselves up, pray, keep open and ready to embrace the gifts sent our way. In so doing, we turn from old self-defeating thought channels that declare us unworthy, unlovable, incompetent, and doomed to fail.

This inner turning requires practice and effort, but it’s do-able. We form the habit of catching ourselves when our thoughts go astray. In place of negative, self-doubting thoughts, we pour in positive, self-affirming ones. We become the authority in our lives, claiming our personal power to decide the direction of our thoughts and attitudes, regardless of our emotions.

One day, we look ourselves in the mirror and say, “God loved you enough to exchange Jesus, His only Son, for you. And I love you, too.” Then we address ourselves again the next day in the same way, until this attitude grows stronger inside us.

And then we maintain this steady focus one day at a time. Each morning, we start afresh.

My Prayer: Just for today, dear Lord, help me to build myself up in faith, rejecting the inner thoughts that would tear me down and pull me away from your constant love. Keep me right at the center of that unchanging love, my arms open and outstretched, ready for Your mercy.

~*~
Author Bio:
When Gail Kittleson's not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. 

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband like to spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

2 comments:

  1. Amen. Yes, Lord, please let me build myself up in faith, rejecting thoughts that would tear me down and pull me away from You. Thank you for this encouraging message.

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  2. As I read, I kept thinking of 2 Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." We choose to obey God's Word and control our thoughts, taking them captive to obey His Word, and even then we are powerless to do it without His help. But letting God's Word richly dwell in us, helps us replace those thoughts with His powerful, life-changing Word. Thanks, Gail & Alexis!

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